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Partnership to support children and their families wins national award
A pilot partnership between the team at Newcastle’s Great North Children’s Hospital and Citizens Advice Gateshead has been recognised at the National Citizens Advice Annual Conference for ‘Best Partnership Working’.
The Direct Access to Social Welfare Advice project provides families with an expert social welfare adviser to support them when a child is diagnosed with a long-term medical condition, which may impact a families’ finances.
So far, the project has successfully supported over 280 families with children at the Great North Children’s Hospital, with over £900,000 total income gained.
Helping reduce health inequalities
The project was recognised at the annual event for helping to reduce health inequalities for children and their families, who otherwise were unlikely to get the much-needed assistance with complex social welfare matters.
The social welfare team has been able to help families gain grants to support their child’s transition to home, assistance with often complex and emotive benefit applications, and with talking to employers during an unsettled period.
Jane Melvin, director of the Great North Children’s Hospital said: “When a family receive the devastating news that their child has a long-term medical condition, often the rest of their life goes on hold.
“The welfare service offered to our families is so incredibly important and provides a significant benefit to our teams, so they are able to support families at this difficult time.
“The Citizens Advice Gateshead social welfare team have become an extension of our service and we have developed a close and supportive working relationship. They are an invaluable asset to our clinical teams when caring for families in our care.”
Charity Funding Support
The pilot’s impact was so significant that this has led to the Great North Children’s Hospital Foundation Trust extending the service for a further two-years.
Jayne Graham MBE, Commercial Director – Citizens Advice Gateshead, said: “We are delighted that this partnership has been recognised by our national membership body as best practice. Bringing social welfare advice closer to the people who need it is critical to avoiding issues quickly spiralling into crisis.”
The learning from the pilot is to be widely shared as a model that has the potential to make a significant difference to the welfare of children facing long-term health conditions and their families.
This initiative was funded by The Great North Children’s Hospital Foundation, which is part of Newcastle Hospitals Charity.
Teri Bayliss, Charity Director at Newcastle Hospitals Charity said: “We are delighted to see the positive impact that the welfare team have had on families at the Great North Children’s Hospital.
"All of us at Newcastle Hospitals Charity are passionate about making improvements to child health, and that includes reducing stress and pressures on the family as a whole.”
You can find out more about Newcastle Hospitals Charity and how to support their work hereFind out more about Newcastle Hospitals Charity